StableBit DrivePool is a forthcoming add-in for Windows Home Server 2011, which aims to enable storage pooling and folder duplication to the platform – the same features Microsoft removed in the WHS Release Candidate following the withdrawal of Drive Extender.

The developer writes:

This add-in will let you add multiple hard drives into one combined storage pool on the Windows Home Server. You can create folder shares on this storage pool, and each folder on the pool can either be duplicated or not duplicated. Files placed in duplicated folders will be protected against single drive failure by being placed onto two separate hard drives.

Features:

  • Combine all your hard drives into one big storage pool (except the system drive with the OS).
  • Add and remove drives from the pool at any time without re-partitioning or manually moving folders.
  • Create duplicated folders on the storage drive pool that are protected against single drive failure. If a drive fails on which a duplicated file was stored, the contents of that file will remain readable even without the drive.

The add-in is currently in alpha, but a technical preview is expected in the next few weeks. To find out more about StableBit DrivePool, check out the announcement.

For those of you who are thinking of staying with Windows Home Server v1, would this convince you to upgrade? Certainly we need to see the add-in working to ensure your data is safe, and it would be useful to understand what’s happening under the hood. But if it stacks up to the claims, it certainly would help to make WHS 2011 a more appealing prospect. Let us know your thoughts below.

Update: Some additional information from the developer, courtesy of WGS Forums:

1. How safe is your data?
Data placed in a duplicated share is protected against any single drive failure. That means that if any one hard disk dies then it’s guaranteed that all the files in all your duplicated shares will remain readable.

2. Is this software Raid?
No. Files in duplicated shares simply exist on 2 drives. In terms of performance, yes, this is like software RAID in the sense that it’s not hardware accelerated.

3. Can you mix drive sizes/types?
Yes. Any non-removable disk formatted with NTFS. I.e. it won’t add your SD card to the pool.

4. How much system resources (cpu/memory) will this require?
This remains to be seen, it’s still early days.

5. System requirements?
Beyond WHS 2011, I don’t foresee any special requirements at this point.

6. Will this play nice with streaming videos?
The performance characteristics will become evident once the technical beta ships. I’ve been coding day and night since the RC got released, I didn’t get a chance to push it to the limit to see how it performs.

7. How much does this cost?
No price announced, but I can give you a ballpark figure of $20.

8. Will there be a beta before release?
Yes.

9. When will the product be available?
There will be a functional Technical Preview in the coming weeks. Beyond that, all I can tell you is that we’ll be going for a beta and a release as quickly as possible, while delivering a stable release.

More: StableBit DrivePool | StableBit.com